The grim economic future of winter recreation

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New research predicts a tough economic future for winter recreation in the Northeast. “I think we already see some variability in the seasons. Higher highs and lows for temperature and snowfall,” said Ethan Austin, Chief Marketing Officer of Sugarloaf. The impacts of climate change can be seen even at Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the largest and northernmost ski areas in New England. climate change as much as other ski areas, the mountain has adapted and improved its snowmaking to be more efficient in order to maintain its reputation for having some of the best snow conditions in the northeast. For smaller and more southern ski areas, the future is bleak. “By the end of the century, we may only have a week or two to make snow before Christmas and only about a month in the whole winter period to make snow before the February holidays” , said Alex Contosta. Contosta is an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire. She says their research was aimed at determining the future of winter recreation in New England. This research revealed that only 15% of the ski resorts currently in operation in northeastern and southern Quebec will still be viable by the turn of the century. “said Derek Schroeter. Schroeter studies seasonal trends and snowfall trends for the National Weather Service in Gray. “It is important to add that even though we are warmer than average, we can still produce an above average snowfall year,” Schroeter said. He hopes there will be heavy winters in the near future. In the years to come we will still have a strong storm track layout, and the skiing will be really great,” said Schroeter. He adds that the most pressing concern is for activities that rely solely on natural snow. “As for the other aspects of winter activity where snowmobiling requires natural snowfall, ski touring requires natural snowfall, snowshoeing and those things, the number of days being able to do those things that require natural snowfall is probably going to get shorter and shorter over time,” Schroeter said. At Sugarloaf, there is a collaboration between ski resorts aimed at reducing their carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same. “It’s a process of opening up about your climate impact and finding ways to lessen our impact. Using our platform for advocacy and initiatives that will help solve the problem,” Austin said.

New research predicts a tough economic future for winter recreation in the Northeast.

“I think we already see some variability in the seasons. Higher highs and lower lows for temperature and snowfall,” said Ethan Austin, Chief Marketing Officer of Sugarloaf.

The impacts of climate change can be seen even at Sugarloaf Mountain, one of New England’s largest and northernmost ski areas.

Although not as threatened by climate change as other ski areas, the mountain has adapted and improved its snowmaking to be more efficient in order to maintain its reputation for having some of the best snow conditions in the northeast.

For smaller and more southern ski areas, the future is bleak.

“By the end of the century, we may only have a week or two to make snow before Christmas and only about a month in the whole winter period to make snow before the February holidays” , said Alex Contosta.

Contosta is an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire.

She says their research was aimed at determining the future of winter recreation in New England.

This research revealed that only 15% of ski resorts currently operating in northeastern and southern Quebec will still be viable by the end of the century.

“It’s a big loss of winter recreation opportunities, but it’s also a big potential impact on our economy,” said Derek Schroeter.

Schroeter studies seasonal patterns and snowfall trends for the National Weather Service in Gray.

He says a currently snowy winter is even more dependent on storm paths than average temperatures.

“It is important to add that even though we are warmer than average, we can still produce an above average snowfall year,” Schroeter said.

He hopes there will be heavy winters in the near future.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that over the next few years we’ll still have a solid storm track layout, and the skiing will be really great,” Schroeter said.

He adds that the most pressing concern is for activities that rely solely on natural snow.

“As for the other aspects of winter activity where snowmobiling requires natural snowfall, ski touring requires natural snowfall, snowshoeing and those things, the number of days being able to do those things that require natural snowfall is probably going to get shorter and shorter over time,” Schroeter said.

At Sugarloaf, there is collaboration between ski resorts to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage others to do the same.

“It’s a process of opening up about your climate impact and finding ways to lessen our impact. Using our platform for advocacy and initiatives that will help solve the problem,” Austin said.

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